Scuba Diving Terms

When learning scuba diving, many beginners are taken aback by the volume of the terminology they need to learn. However, if you come and think of it, every sport has its own slang, so why should scuba diving be an exception? The good news is, though, that you don’t have to learn all the scuba diving terms in one go – they will be introduced to you gradually, as you progress. To give you a sample of what you will be learning about during your courses, here are a few of the most important terms.

Diving Terms Referring to the Activity Itself and the Courses

  • Let’s start with the name of the sport. SCUBA is an abbreviation meaning Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, so scuba diving is all in the name: you will be diving with the help of an independent breathing unit.
  • If you have been looking for a diving course to take, you have surely encountered two other abbreviations referring to the courses you can choose from: PADI and SSI. PADI is the system developed by the Professional Association of Driving Instructors, one of the world’s largest diver training organizations, while the term SSI is used for the courses developed by Scuba Schools International, another large certifying body.
  • The names given to the course levels vary to a certain extent, but they are all indicative of the level of knowledge they offer. The term Open Water, mostly only OW, is usually included in the names of courses for beginners – when you take one of these, you will be given a C-card that you can use all over the world.
  • Advanced and Rescue Diver are the scuba diving terms used for denoting the higher levels of training.

Diving Terms Related to the Equipment

Divers use a lot of scuba diving terms and abbreviations to talk about their gear. Here are a few basic examples:

  • Octopus – the name of this wonderful marine creature is used in scuba diving to refer to a second, supplementary air regulation device to be used in emergency situations;
  • BC or BCD – buoyancy compensator and buoyancy control device, a piece of gear similar to a jacket or a wing that serves the purposes of establishing natural buoyancy while underwater.

Diving Terms Related to the How You Feel

There are a number of scuba diving terms used for the physical aspects of spending time underwater. Here are some important examples:

  • Being narced – suffering from nitrogen narcosis, feeling lightheaded or dizzy because of inhaling the oxygen-gas mixture from the tank;
  • DCS – decompression sickness, also known as the bends, is a condition experienced by divers when they return to the surface too quickly and manifests in the form of muscle pain and dizziness.

There are many more diving terms you will learn once you gain experience, but these ones are important to remember right from the start.

Blane Perun

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